In the aftermath of a horrific shooting at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, the man behind the gunfire targeted at House majority whip Steve Scalise has been identified as James T. Hodgkinson. Hodgkinson was a 66-year-old unemployed former home inspector from Illinois. Scalise remains in critical condition while Hodgkinson died in the ensuing shootout with police. Four other people were wounded by the gunfire from Hodgkinson, and two of them are still in the hospital a day later.
Police later recovered a rifle and a handgun, and are in the process of determining if they were obtained legally. According to investigators, it is possible that the Wednesday attack had been planned for a long time and that Hodgkinson may have even tracked lawmakers’ movements in the past couple of months from the van that he lived in. He had a long history with anti-Republican sentiment, posting cartoons critical of the administration of current U.S. President Donald Trump on his Facebook page. He also often wrote letters to the editors of local newspapers complaining about Republican lawmakers favoring the wealthy.
In the wake of the seeming targeting of a Republican representative, Congress decided to demonstrate a public front of solidarity and bipartisanship by unilaterally condemning the attack. In part because of this renewed sense of togetherness, they said that they will move forward with the Congressional Baseball Game, which was already scheduled to pit a Republican team against a Democratic team at Nationals Park on Thursday in the 108th edition of the event. President Trump, along with his wife Melania, also paid a personal visit to Scalise in the hospital. After the visit, he gave a public statement saying, “We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country.”